Spank Rock

The Upside EP

by Steve Horowitz

18 December 2014

“Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?” This EP is meant for those who want it both ways.
 
cover art

Spank Rock

The Upside

(Bad Blood / Boyznoise)
US: 9 Dec 2014
UK: Import

To say Spank Rock uses ribald lyrics is like saying the Grand Canyon is a big hole. What do you expect? However, we live in a world where one can hear explicit sexual lyrics everywhere, even on top ten pop hits. Nothing’s shocking anymore, so what does a hip hop artist with risqué inclinations need to do to be heard? For Spank Rock, the answer lies in a production full of drops, squeals, beats, and repetitions for which you can do more than grind. His lyrics may grab your attention for their outrageousness, but the reason they bear repeating listening has more to do with the other stuff happening on the track.

This is not to say Spank Rock’s latest EP isn’t dirty. Consider the opening to the urban jungle sounds of “Assassin” featuring Amanda Blank: “I rap about pussy / cuz my niggaz love it / show your clit / let me see you rub it”. No subtlety there, but that’s the point. While sirens wail in the background, mixed with the chattering of wild creatures, Spank Rock declares he is large and in charge. The police and animal instinct have no hold over him or his desires

Other songs rely more heavily on the noises to draw you in. “Back Up” begins with chanting and some sort of simmering hot electric tea kettle about to boil for almost a minute before the words start, and when the words come, their echoes and reverberations say more than the language that references everything from “beat the bitch” to “government drones” to “critical thinkers” without much thyme or season, or is that rhyme or reason”. In Spank Rock’s world, that doesn’t matter a heckuva lot; it’s all a bunch of “metashit.”

Which is not to say the music is crap; it’s creative, compelling, and beat-heavy in the best sense. However, the songs are meant to cause a physiological reaction more than a physical one—no one will confuse this with heavy metal or aerobic tunes. The slinky sleaziness here belongs on a dance floor before a live audience looking to hook up, with the music if not with each other. Spank Rock manufactures an alternative world where smoking and drinking are encouraged to get one in the disposition, and getting in the mood is the be-all and end-all,

Once a person is in the right mindset, one can hold back or give in, please another, or service oneself. Whatever feels good is right and whatever is right feels good. This may be empty hedonism, but so what? There are no hidden agendas here. Whatever subtleties exist are confined to wordplays and sound effects; the music is meant to be transitory and ephemeral more than reflective. Spank Rock creates music for the now.

There is an old joke that goes, “Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?”  This EP is meant for those who want it both ways. There’s pleasure to be found here, if this is the kind of thing that gives you pleasure.

The Upside

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